Fr. Jean-Paul Guillet, born in Canada in 1925, became active in Catholic Action as a student.
In 1949, he joined the congregation of the Société des Missions Étrangères. He started working in Cuba as a priest and was responsible for the local school of Carabollo.
In 1952, he helped his compatriot Fr. Jean-Marie Poitevin (1907-1987) to make the film Mystère sur ma route in Cuba. He even played a role in it and finished its post production.
In January 1956, Guillet started working in Honduras. One of his activities was bringing open air film projections to remote areas.
Influenced by the educational radio programmes from the Colombian radio station Sutatenza in early 1960, he started working for the radio La voz de Suyapa in Honduras. Guillet went for training at Radio Sutatenza. When he came back, he created Acción Cultural Popular Hondureña, a committee of lay people who supported the Escuelas Radiofónicas Suyapa. Then the Diocese wanted its own radio station and Guillet became the co-founder of Radio Paz.
In the beginning of the 1980’s, Guillet even became for a moment a militant for democracy in Honduras through radio programmes with and for the people! For him, it was an unforgettable but unique experiment with Radio Valle.
In 1987, he succeeded Paul Labelle at the head of the Missionary Service (MS) of OCIC in Rome. Guillet modernized the institution, notably by introducing computers and switching from Super 8 to video. Always open to new technologies but also in touch with people’s needs, he adapted the services of the MS to the needs of dioceses and isolated populations in Africa. The service provided satellite phones, broadcasting and radio production studios, computers, digital cameras.
In 2001, he set up the broadband Internet V-SAT satellite system.
At SIGNIS Missionary Service, he was the motive force behind the establishment of 150 radio broadcasting stations in 34 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Guillet also pioneered satellite based interconnection services for Church centres in Africa. At that time, the Missionary Service employed 15 people; Guillet created a network of around 700 satellite phones and set up many radio studios all over Africa. He was also member of several international OCIC and SIGNIS juries.
At the end of 2004, Father Jean-Paul Guillet retired. Tribute was paid to him at a ceremony in Cape Town during the Assembly of Delegates in November 2004.
Today he is living in Montreal. GC